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Women of Africa: Providing Africa’s women entrepreneurs with the tools they need - EY - South Africa

Women of Africa: a powerful untapped economic force

Providing Africa’s women entrepreneurs with the tools they need

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"A company cannot walk before it can crawl. You cannot skip any of the steps in making sustainability part of your company." Leading advisor on sustainability

Globally, women-owned businesses are being recognized as engines of growth that can assist in fueling the economic recovery.

The potential impact for women entrepreneurs on an economy is significant. The rate of women's entrepreneurship in Africa is high – higher than in any other region.

However, many women turn to entrepreneurship as a means of survival rather than economic empowerment. Entrepreneurship is a means for women to move their families out of poverty. However, many women's "businesses" remain small and rarely employ others, and are subsistence based.

In a study of 600 African unregistered businesses, it was found that female-owned businesses employed less people and made less sales than male-owned businesses.

There are a number of challenges facing the African woman entrepreneur in making these necessary steps toward upscaling small businesses, which provide opportunities for policy-makers; access to finance, access to markets, regulatory reform and business programs that can provide women with the necessary educational tools for growing their businesses.

Providing women with the support they need is not just a one-way street, it often makes business sense.

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